How to Choose the Right Social Networking Sites for Your Business

Social Networking SitesFew businesses have the time and resources to be on every social networking site.

There are just too many, and not all of them are going to create significant value.

It’s best to focus your efforts on a few social media networks for maximum results. But how do you decide which networks will give you the best return on your time investment?

Answer These Four Questions To Choose Your Social Networking Sites

1. Which type of content works best for your business?

Audio, video, written, a combination? It’s crucial to determine which media will tell your story best and then go where that content tends to live. Imagine a musician without a YouTube channel – how would you know if they’re any good? Or a bakery that doesn’t post enticing photos of their mouth-watering goodies? But does a lawyer really need more than a blog to successfully market online – probably not.

Before you do anything else, decide what type of content will best serve your business.

2. What is your target market?

Figure out exactly who you’re targeting – the more specific the better. What demographics are represented in your market, and what do they care about? Once you answer this critical question, do some research to figure out where those people spend time online and the types of content they like to consume. Then focus your marketing efforts there.

For example, say you run a beauty salon in a residential area and you want to target working mothers. These women are typically aged 30-50 and are often short on time due to work, family, and other responsibilities. They care about looking polished, but don’t have hours to spend on their appearance. Pinterest is very popular among women in this age group. Creating a Pinterest board displaying beautiful manicures that can be completed in 30 minutes or less will interest your target customers and drive more business to your website – and salon!

This is often the most difficult step. If you are having trouble answering this question, don’t hesitate to contact me  for help.

Make sure you know where your target audience hangs out online and meet them there.

3. What is your budget?

Some social networks will take more time to yield results than others. It can be hard to get started on Facebook without paying for advertising. On the other hand, Twitter can generate publicity quickly without any financial investment.

Independent food bloggers can sometimes get away with low-quality videos on YouTube, but a high-end clothing line’s brand image is better reflected by more professional video production.

Figure out your marketing budget and how that will affect your strategy.

4. Where is your competition?

It’s tempting to check out your competition first, but save it for last! They may not know what they’re doing, and until you’ve taken the time to think things through, you might not realize they’re in all the wrong places.

Only investigate your competition’s strategy once you’ve defined your own. If you decide that your audience can best be reached via Facebook and your competition has created a thriving community on Facebook, consider your idea verified. However, if you think Pinterest can bring value but you’re the only spa pinning from your area, you have a wonderful opportunity to stand out – take it!

Know what your competition is doing online and leverage that knowledge to your advantage.

One More Thing…

Don’t be afraid of niche social networks. While they may be smaller, they are very targeted and their members may be exactly the people you are trying to reach.

If you’re a brewery, get on Untapped. If you’re in the pet business, give Love My Pets a shot. And if you run a knitting blog, do not ignore Ravelry! You get the idea, right?

Choosing the right social networks for your business can be a time-intensive process at first, but putting in the effort now will save you from wasting time on things that don’t work. It’s a process I regularly work through with clients, but I’m sharing it with you today for free. If you know someone else who would find this article helpful, please share it with them.

How did you choose which social networking sites your business uses? Do you have any questions about choosing the right social networking sites for your business? Let me know in the comment section below.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • David Shrein November 12, 2013, 2:36 pm

    This is such a great take on such an important issue. I really wish this would have been around for me to reference when I was getting my start. Don’t we all believe that we should just jump into everything right away and start using every network? It is typically only when you realize all your efforts aren’t connecting with an audience that you step back and recalibrate… but after you’ve already spent all that time!

    Great post!

    Reply
    • Casandra Campbell November 12, 2013, 6:30 pm

      So true! In an ideal world we would plan and do everything perfectly the first time but we’re too inpatient for that. Luckily we can learn on the fly. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes along the way but they only help me do better next time!

      Reply

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